Athlete of the Month

The Team Sheeper Athlete of the Month award is handed out to a member of the team on a monthly basis, 7 or 8 times a year. The AOM is someone who made a notable contribution to the team or did something remarkable. Selection is made by nomination and voting by the membership.

You can nominate anyone and the nomination period is usually during the first week or two of the month. Look for notification that nominations are being sought.  When nomination close, the voting starts and once all the votes are tallied, the new AOM is crowned.

Besides bragging rights for a month, our AOM gets some goodies from our gracious sponsors, such as free shoes from TRH, a massage from SMI, gift certificates from GoRide.


SMI is proud to sponsor this month's athlete who embodies the spirit of Team Sheeper. SMI is a non-profit public benefit corporation dedicated to the prevention and treatment of overuse injuries, optimization of human function and enhancement of athletic performance.

Mary Ann Kurucz

September 2013 Athlete of the Month

If you were an energy bar, which flavor would you be?

Wow, fun question…. I’d most likely be something with dark chocolate & almonds. YUM!!! But honestly, energy bars are not a big part of my workout diet since they are hard for me to get down… therefore I prefer Gus and blocks. If I could be any of those, I’d be Espresso Love Gu. This is my go-to and it’s hard to find me w/o them during any ride or long run.

What is an injury or obstacle you have had to overcome to achieve your goal?

While I was ramping up my miles for my first IM, I ended up with Posterior Tibial Tendonitis. The inside of my ankles became very tender and inflamed. I was informed that I pronated… who knew! I was concerned that I wasn’t going to be able to run at all, but was committed to competing, even if it meant I had to walk the run. I focused on Physical Therapy and worked aggressively with the therapist to get ready for race day. I was elated when I was able to run the initial 13 miles and then run-walk the second half. Ever since, I’m always working to prevent this from happening again.

What is the best piece of advice you would give to a beginner triathlete?

Just have fun and enjoy the camaraderie and the overall experience! Enjoying the triathlon ride is the most important thing for me, and that is what helps me through the hours of training every week and sustain the endurance training on Saturdays and Sundays. If I’m not enjoying it, then it is hard to motivate and too easy to find excuses.

Do you prefer to run flats, hills, trails, road or a combination?

I much prefer to run on trails where there’s much softer impact. And if given the choice between flat and hills, although I do enjoy a nice flat trail, in a sick and twisted way it’s an awesome feeling after sucking wind all the way up a hill, to crest it and then come careening down the other side. I know I’m a bit chicken that I’ll take a nose-dive while running downhill, and therefore descend far more conservatively than others, but it is fun to run down.

What is on your athletic bucket list? What would be your ultimate achievement?

I’m extremely content with everything I have done thus far in my triathlon career. When I started with my first sprint triathlon I never even considered an Ironman and thought that anyone who did them was totally crazy. And now, having completed 4, I am one of those crazy ones. ? And yet, I do enter the Kona lottery every year. So I suspect, if I ever have that opportunity, Kona would be the final item to cross off my triathlon bucket list…for now.

If you could be the best swimmer, cyclist or runner..which would you choose?

Well, thanks to my swimming background, my knee-jerk reaction it to want to be the best swimmer since I enjoy this the most… but since the swim sadly takes up the smallest percentage of any event, I should want to be the best cyclist or runner to help those portions pass more quickly and/or less painfully.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

My inspiration comes from all my teammates and fellow athletes around me. I love that triathlons attract athletes of all shapes, sizes and ages. It is amazing to look around at any event and see competitors coming out for their 50th event or for their 1st. I just love how timeless the triathlon community allows us to be. I also love our collegial spirit. On Team Sheeper, we are surrounded by teammates who are interested in helping each of us achieve our goals, regardless of what they are… and on race day, I love that fellow athletes as they pass (which they do often for me) will shout out words of encouragement or even your name as they go by. These are all signs of a community that I am excited to be a part of and keep me coming back for more. This is where I draw my inspiration.

Mary Anne Kurucz